Currawinya extension—Boorara, Werewilka and Bingara sections
The new areas include the upper catchments of creeks flowing into the Ramsar listed lakes and wetlands of original Currawinya section, as well as a network of active artesian springs, fourteen threatened plant and animal species, and outstanding examples of both Indigenous and shared-history cultural heritage.
Domed mounds and lush, green-edged soaks forming where water bubbles from deep underground punctuate a landscape that graduates from soft, red sand plains to rugged mesas and rocky residual ranges. Human use and connections with this land are evident from scatters of Indigenous materials as well as old buildings, equipment and other pastoral-era relics dotted across the park.
Access is from the existing Currawinya National Park in the south, via the old Thargomindah Road. Roads are unsealed and impassable in wet weather. A 4WD vehicle is recommended (see the Currawinya National Park map ).
Things to do
Planning is underway across the Currawinya National Park extension for a range of self-guided drive opportunities leading to the park’s major natural and cultural features. The first of these features is now open. Rangers are working hard to put in place infrastructure and make sites safe for visitors in the northern section of the park. The final section is scheduled to be open to visitors by 2020. Keep visiting these pages for updates.
Nature, culture and history
Most of the Currawinya National Park extension area comprises mulga and gidgee woodlands. The landscape becomes progressively drier and more rugged as you travel north from Currawinya across sandy floodplains into the low escarpments and mesa country of Werewilka and Bingara.
Of the 22 regional ecosystems found here, one is endangered, nine are ‘of concern’ and 10 have a high to very high priority for representation in reserves. The area has several endemic and very restricted species. Fourteen threatened species, including eight plants and six animal species (including painted honeyeater, Major Mitchell’s cockatoo, Australian painted snipe and red-throat) have been recorded so far. Survey work is continues.
The new protected areas are part of a significant wildlife corridor reaching from the existing Currawinya National Park almost up to Lake Bindegolly National Park, east of Thargomindah. The area contains a significant portion of the upper catchments of creeks flowing into the lake systems of the inland internationally recognised (Ramsar listed) Currawinya National Park. Active artesian springs are an important feature and harbour an array of endemic species and isolated populations of both flora and fauna. Protection of artesian springs and their associated endangered and endemic species is a priority in the Mulga Lands.
The area around and to the north of Currawinya Lakes is an internationally recognised cultural landscape with some of the highest identified densities of Indigenous materials, stone tools, hearths, scatters and middens in south-west Queensland. Native title over the land which includes the national park was determined in 2015 to the Budjiti peoples. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is working closely with the Traditional Owners (the Budjiti peoples) to protect these sites and their history.
Extensive evidence of shared history culture extends across the park including old shearing sheds, living quarters and huts, early cropping and shearing equipment, stock yards and fences, wells, windmills and even an old gold mine.
Park acquisition and future management
Acquiring Boorara, Werewilka and Bingara stations marks a significant addition to the reserve system of the Mulga Lands bioregion and will bring Currawinya to a total area of around 344,000ha, making it one of Queensland’s largest national parks.
Used as grazing properties since the mid-1800s, Werewilka and Boorara were first proposed for acquisition in 1975. The acquisition process began around 2000, when Oolamon was offered for sale to QPWS by the owners of Bingara Station. QPWS has had a long-standing association with the owners of these properties and the acquisitions have had support from the local community.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service continues to transition these pastoral properties to national park. Projects will include boundary fencing, road and track upgrades, repairs and upgrades to residential and operational infrastructure, communications, utility service upgrades and repairs, and essential visitor facilities and signage. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is working with the Budjiti on the future management of Currawinya National Park.